TransCanada continues their pattern of threats and intimidation tactics rolling down the same path they have been on for the last four years. Their latest strategies might be some of their most deceptive and corrupt, let’s get you up to speed.
TransCanada Sending Checks to Landowners Who Have Not Signed Contracts
by Amy Schaeffer
Earlier this summer, to counter citizen-led efforts aimed at county boards enacting common sense and needed regulations and zoning laws to protect land, water and health, TransCanada sent a memo to each county board threatening to sue them if they enacted any type of resolution or zoning law. This makes little sense to the tax-paying citizens who were pleading with their county boards to provide some measure of protection against massive tarsands pipelines that could cross their county lines and in some cases come within feet of their homes.
However, it makes perfect sense why TransCanada would lobby, bribe, and threaten every county board. As it turns out, TransCanada’s job gets a whole lot harder if they have to comply with local regulations and zoning laws in each county. In fact, it makes their job so tough that in South Dakota, the one county that had zoning regulations in place TransCanada chose to route the pipeline around that county.
Next, and this is a testament to the power of people sticking together, and the Nebraska Easement Action Team (NEAT), a landowner group formed specifically to help landowners have more power on land rights. TransCanada has increased their sign-on bonuses and according to several landowners their prices have REALLY, REALLY gone up!
It doesn’t stop here. TransCanada is now so desperate to get easements signed that they are mailing checks to landowners who have NOT signed easement in hopes that someone will accidently cash the check and unknowingly be agreeing to their blanket easement which lacks the most important item in any contract, the terms.
We understand why TransCanada is so desperate. Our bold citizens and our strong landowners have stopped their pipeline once and we plan to stop it again. In other states, TransCanada has bullied 99% of the landowners into signing contracts. But not in Nebraska, from what we can tell since there is no law requiring TransCanada to be transparent about their contract process, TransCanada ONLY has roughly 40% of the landowners signed in our state. About 35% of the landowners are refusing to sign or even negotiate with TransCanada unless they get a permit. We think the other 25% of landowners have family lawyers or dislike the pipeline so much that even signing up with NEAT is giving too much room to TransCanada.
What will TransCanada do next? Who knows but it will likely follow the same path of bribery, threats and throwing massive amounts of dollars around so they can attempt to buy their way through the State of Nebraska all the while telling our county boards that they do not need to put protections in place for their tax-paying citizens.
TransCanada tried this tactic with our Unicameral sending a similar memo before the Special Session threatening that any laws our state passed would also be illegal. Bottom line is townships, counties and our state CAN pass laws around pipelines. We have written about this extensively and recently trained local leaders and citizens on what we can put in place. Now, it is up to us to keep pushing our elected officials to ignore TransCanada’s threats and keep in mind the taxpayers, our kids, our land and our water.
Below is a sample crude oil pipeline siting ordinance that counties can put in place to protect their communities, and a presentation by attorney Brian Jorde of Domina Law Group on how citizens and counties can work to enact zoning regulations on pipelines.